Design ⇅ Research ⇄ Sociology
Gender ⇆ Visual Culture ⇅ Fashion
Floriane Misslin
Diagramming Fluidity:
A Method to Study Gender in Fashion Photography
The project studies the production of fashion photography in an industry established on the binary womenswear / menswear. I interviewed fashion editors, art directors and photographers whose practice challenge this distinction. The research method uses diagrams to reorganise interview transcripts into manifestos, co-produced with the participants of the research. The project obtained the 'exceptional' distinction in Visual Sociology at Goldsmiths University, and was displayed at Designs for Different Futures (US) and Viral (FR) ☞ It's available as a book at Onomatopee. ⤿2019 - ongoing
↗︎ Diagrammatic Manifestos ☞ Click on the images to open them as larger files
Made in collaboration with [from top left to bottom right] photographer Vic Lentaigne, founder of unisex clothing label Lane FortyFive Tanmay Saxena, photographer Nicole Ngai, photographic editor of online magazine Dazed Beauty Saorla Houston, director of gender fluid fashion retailer Verv London and photographer Henri T Art.
The sociological research investigates how photographers, art directors and magazine editors who challenge the womenswear / menswear distinction navigate the fashion industry. Organisations such as model agencies, brands and media platforms facilitate but also condition the production of fashion editorials and campaigns to a certain gendered discourse. I look into how fashion photography producers respond to such limitations in order to make visible different experiences of gender, and how their practices mutate the fashion industry.
Diagrammatic Manifestos = Diagramming ✍︎ Interviews Transcripts ⟶ into Manifestos
I designed a methodology called "Diagrammatic Manifestos", informed by live, inventory and sensory sociological research methods. Across a series of interviews, diagrams were used to co-produce with each participant a manifesto about their own experience of fashion photography production in relation to gender. I published a paper about this methodology in the peer-reviewed journal Fashion Studies
Diagrams make visible the interpretative process of sociological methods. Placed between myself and the research participants, diagrams became a common territory for our mutually rephrasing. I used the diagrams to explore the descriptions, anecdotes, and contradictions of the qualitative data in a graphic form. Each diagram is a fragment, a passage to another, a step further in transforming interview transcripts into short manifestos.
All the diagrams made during the research process are archived in a large book with a loose elastic binding.
The book available at ☞ Onomatopee ☜ is printed in risopgraphy and includes the manifestos and an essay about the research and its methodology.
↘ Installation at the show Viral at Le Signe, national centre for graphic design in Chaumont, France, from May to November 2021.
⤷ The manifestos were commissioned for the show Designs for Different Futures.
Touring at Philadelphia Museum of Arts (US) from October 2019 to March 2020, The Walker Art Center (Minneapolis, US) from September 2020 to January 2021 and the Art Institute of Chicago from January 2021 to May 2021.
Posters are distributed to the visitors: click to open larger files ⟶
↘ Installation at the show S.N.A.C.K (Sociology is Not Complete Knowledge) in July 2019 at Greenwhich West Arts and Community Center, London (UK)
✳︎ Thanks to
the participants of the research;
Verv London,
Tanmay Saxena from LaneFortyFive,
Saorla Houston from Dazed Beauty,
Nicole Ngai,
Henri T Art,
Vic Lentaigne,
the anonymous participants,
Rebecca Coleman, my supervisor for the dissertation at Visual Sociology, Goldsmiths, University of London,
Michelle Millar Fisher from the Philadelphia Museum of Arts and Maite Borjabad from the Art Institute of Chicago for their trust,
Juliette Pepin and Luka Holmegaard for their precious help.